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"We Are Listening." Bridgeport Diocesan Synod

"This is a singular opportunity for us, as a diocese, to ask very deep, honest, and probing questions, so that we can transform the challenges we face into opportunities for growth and renewal. But perhaps most importantly, this is a graced time for you and me to accept the invitation of the Lord, in a very personal way, to grow in faith and holiness," said Bishop Frank Caggiano.

With that, Bishop Caggiano opened the second session of the Synod of the Diocese of Bridgeport (CT) November 15th. The atmosphere among the participants is very congenial; each seems genuinely pleased to be part of this effort. Bishop Frank Caggiano (cf. 11/10 America magazine editorial) also shared that 5 bishops at the recent USCCB meeting approached him about the synod and want to know more; we are sowing seeds…

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Woodstock Associate Retreat, Skiff Lake, September 27

The theme for our day was “Journeying – Our Footsteps Through Life” and our facilitator was Eleanor McCloskey, CND from Fredericton.

Using some Scripture passages, we looked at some of the steps Jesus took to teach people different ways of looking at things, different ways of getting to know God. We shared some of the steps we see Pope Francis taking, not just “in Church,” but in front of the whole world, to teach mercy and compassion and a nonjudgmental way of relating to one another. Some examples were shared of activists, movers and shakers we have heard of, that take costly steps to try to effect change. Then we prayed quietly for some time, reflecting on our own journey and the steps we are called upon to take. To help us “get into it,” we chose shoes from a display of cards prepared with varieties of shoes – athletic shoes, work boots, sandals, sturdy shoes, dressy shoes, winter boots, and weird imaginative creations!

The sharing from our “journey” outside, reflecting in the warm sunshine of a beautiful autumn Saturday, was rich and rewarding to all. Our day concluded with considering Resisting… Accepting... Embracing Change in our journey. 

“Does my image of God allow God to lead me into new pathways?” was the question we took home. 


Sainte Marguerite Bourgeoys, Teacher

In 1640, Marguerite, then 20 years old, decided to “give (herself) to the service of God.” She requested admission to the extern congregation run by the Canonesses of Saint Augustine (whose monastery was situated in Troyes where la Gendarmerie stands today). The nuns had established a number of “little schools” in the poorer areas of the city. They trained the congréganistes as teachers. Marguerite received lessons in pedagogy and committed herself to education.

In these “little schools,” young girls were formed as Christians and taught catechism, reading, writing, counting and sewing.

Sister Louise de Ste-Marie, directress of the extern congregation, was the sister of Paul de Chomedey de Maisonneuve, founder of Ville-Marie (Montreal, Canada). When he came to Troyes in 1652, Sister Louise reminded her brother of the sisters’ desire to participate in the mission in New France. Monsieur de Maisonneuve explained that it was still impossible to establish a monastery of cloistered sisters in Ville-Marie. He stated that the colony needed secular teachers.

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